Starlink vs. Charter: Must-Know Facts
- Charter Spectrum is a cable-based internet provider
- Starlink is a satellite-based internet provider
- Both brands deliver high-speed broadband internet
- Charter Spectrum Internet is more affordable than Starlink internet
- Charter is a publicly traded company, while Starlink is a privately owned venture
- Starlink’s approach of deploying its satellites in low orbit (only 500 km) has helped resolve high latency problems facing traditional satellite providers.
Internet is now a basic necessity. Our modern life depends on it, and more than anything else, we all want the most reliable connection. Thanks to the rising consumer demand for stable connectivity, competition among internet service providers (ISPs) is intensifying.
As a result, some ISPs are making great strides in solving customer needs and exceeding their expectations. Most of them operate in the satellite internet space and cable internet market which brings our attention to two key players in the market today; Starlink and Charter!
Why the two?
Starlink is the world’s fastest satellite internet service provider, whereas Charter is one of the leading cable internet service providers in the U.S. In this article, we look at how they stack up against each other.
Starlink vs. Charter: A Quick Synopsis
Starlink is a division within SpaceX and one of the fastest-growing satellite internet providers, with over 400k subscribers globally. It focuses on providing broadband internet to dissatisfied and underserved internet users.
Such are individuals living in remote areas and other isolated regions where internet coverage is unavailable or extremely limited.
To achieve this, Starlink is on the go, launching thousands of satellites in the low Earth orbit. It hopes to cover the entire planet with high-speed broadband internet to help handle problems associated with the lack of internet access.
On the other hand, Charter, through its Spectrum division, provides internet via cable connections and continues to expand its reach across America. It relies on fiber optic and coaxial cables to deliver high-quality broadband to over 30 million subscribers in 41 states.
It is indubitable that Starlink and Charter are among the most prominent internet providers today. But how did they get here?
Starlink vs. Charter: Introduction and Growth
SpaceX launched the first 60 Starlink internet satellites in May 2019. So far, it has made over 35 successful launches, delivering nearly 3,000 satellites in low Earth orbit, and still has more launches scheduled. Today, its broadband service is active across all seven continents, a clear indication it’s making tremendous strides in providing high-speed internet to all its users across the globe.
It is now one of the best satellite providers in the USA and the to-go option for many internet users worldwide.
On the other hand, Charter Communications launched its internet division (Spectrum) in 2016. Since then, Charter has invested heavily in network infrastructure and technology. It aims to expand its fast and reliable internet connections to all at affordable prices.
It is also one of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Providers and has been delivering internet services to unserved areas. And today, it ranks among the best cable internet providers in the U.S., serving millions of users, some of whom are eligible needy families in remote areas.
Starlink vs. Charter: Side By Side Comparison
|Charles H. Leonard|
|Key People||Elon Musk||Tom Rutledge|
|Headquarters||Redmond, Washington||Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.|
|-Broadband Satellite Internet|
|Area Coverage||Over 40 countries globally||41 states in the U.S|
|What to expect||-Rural availability|
-No data caps
-No installation charges
-No hidden fees
-High upfront charges for the equipment
|-No data caps|
-No hidden charges
-Free access to Wi-FI hotspots
-One-time Installation charges
-Additional monthly fee for Spectrum Router
Starlink vs. Charter: Key Difference
Starlink and Charter are in the race to deliver high-speed internet to all. But they don’t compete directly. Each has claimed its area where they strive to be the best, hence the incentive to innovate and be more consumer-focused in its service delivery. This makes them significant players in the internet service market. But besides that, they differ widely in their operations.
Let’s take a deep dive into these differences.
Coverage and Availability
The Charter serves 41 states in the USA, leaving out only nine states: Utah, Delaware, Alaska, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, South Dakota, North Dakota, Arkansas, and Iowa. Thus if you live in any other state not listed here, you can access Charter’s internet services
But if you prefer Starlink’s satellite internet service, you will likely get a reliable connection if you live in the 33 US states;
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- South Dakota
- Rhode Island
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
- New York
You also have a high chance to access Starlink’s satellite internet in the Netherlands, Belgium, New Zealand, Germany, Australia, Denmark, France, Switzerland, Austria, Portugal, Ireland, and the UK.
It’s also important to note that satellite internet connections take the lead when it comes to availability. Unlike cable internet, which is limited to specific geographical areas, satellite internet signals are available anywhere, provided there is an unobstructed view to get service. That explains why Starlink has a wide coverage.
Contract and Installation
Starlink and Charter do not tie their customers to contracts, meaning you can cancel their services anytime and not worry about early termination fees. However, they employ different approaches in their internet installations.
Starlink provides its users with a self-installation kit; hence no fees are charged to set up the hardware. But Charter offers two installation options- a professional installation with a one-time payment fee of $50 or a self-installation kit with a monthly $5 rental charge.
Internet Deals and Pricing
Starlink Satellite Internet Plans
- Starlink Internet: This will cost you $110 monthly and a one-time equipment fee of $599. It delivers broadband connection at a maximum speed of 250 Mbps and 20 Mbps upload speed.
- Starlink Premium: It delivers up to 500 Mbps download speed and upload speeds of up to 40mbps at a $500 monthly rate. It is designed for business owners in rural areas and comes with a one-time equipment payment of $2,500. The equipment can serve a maximum of 20 users. Its latency may range from 20 to 40 ms.
- Starlink RV: This plan delivers internet speeds ranging from 150-500 Mbps for $135 monthly and comes with a one-time hardware fee of $599. It is an ideal plan for those who travel to locations where internet connection is nonexistent or unreliable. It allows you to customize your internet based on your travel needs.
- Starlink Maritime: Connectivity while sailing will set you back $10,000 on equipment fees, and you will cough an extra $5,000 monthly to enjoy 300Mbps of download speed.
- Starlink Aviation: Plans are underway to make browsing at high altitudes possible by 2023 with this package. It will likely cost between $12,500 – $25,000 per month and a one-time equipment fee of $15,000.
Charter Spectrum Internet Plans
- Spectrum Internet: This is the cheapest tier and will set you back about $50 for a single bundle and a $62.98 monthly fee for double bundles at a download speed of 300 Mbps.
- Spectrum Internet Ultra: This plan delivers internet speeds up to 500 Mbps at $69.99 per month.
- Spectrum Gig: It costs $89.99 monthly and has a download limit of around 940 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 35 Mbps.
Internet Data Caps
These ISPs offer unlimited data with no data caps. However, Charter has a 1 T.B. limit on its unlimited plans. Therefore, if the usage surpasses this limit, the internet will throttle, and you will experience a slower internet connection than what you signed for. On the contrary, Starlink has a lower limit of 250GB, and you will also experience slower speeds if you surpass this limit.
Both use different network technologies.
Starlink uses satellites deployed in orbit to beam internet signals to your dish receiver, which sends the broadband to your router whereas Charter transmits its internet through underground coaxial cables.
Starlink vs. Charter: Which Is Better?
Picking an internet service provider isn’t a walk in the park. It depends on your budget, location, and internet habits. Also, you should base your decision mainly on the availability, reliability, and speed of the specific internet service.
Charter internet service may be a suitable option if you….
- Prefer a cable connection
- Fast internet that won’t break the bank
- Are looking for a Triple Play (covers telephony, TV, and internet services)
Starlink internet service may be your best option if you….
- Live in a remote area with limited or no connectivity
- Want an internet connection with low latency, especially for gaming
- Prefer an ISP with the widest coverage
- Plan to ditch traditional satellite service providers like HughesNet and Viasat for better average download and uploads speeds (exceeding 100 Mbps and 12Mbps, respectively)
Are You in the Market for a Fast and Reliable Internet Service?
Believe it or not, those living in rural areas have limited options when it comes to internet services, and often the available internet connections tend to be sluggish. Fortunately, Starlink and Charter aim to make this a thing of the past through their widely available high-speed internet connections.
However, Charter’s cable internet may be limited in remote areas, and Starlink’s satellite internet may suffer slow speeds in some areas. So, if you have to choose between the two, look past your current budget and expectations and go for the most viable option for your needs.
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